The structure of G.V. Florovsky’s concept of neopatristic synthesis is analyzed and reassessed here in light of the current state of philosophy and theology. As a result, the concept receives a new configuration, in which its core is formed by the ancient Orthodox idea of the Living Tradition, understood as the union of the work of the Church Fathers and the hesychast practice. As for the idea of Christian Hellenism, which formed the core of the previous configuration, it has been relegated to the periphery of the concept. This article reveals the philosophic potential of the concept that has not yet been realized — its hermeneutical aspects, its connection with the mainstream of phenomenology, and so forth. The new configuration is then projected onto the situation of Russian philosophy. I demonstrate that the concept possessed vast conceptual, epistemological, and methodological resources capable of stimulating the creation of a new philosophic formation that would be distinct from the modernist thinking of the Silver Age. However, those resources have remained untapped.
The Petrine-Pushkinian era lasted no more than two hundred years. It originated at the Battle of Poltava, where Russian troops first showed themselves not just equal to the Swedes, who were otherwise the best European troops at the time, but even surpassed them. Russia became a part of Europe. As both poets and historians (Fyodor Tyutchev, Vasilii Kliuchevskii) have said, Peter the Great’s empire rose in response to Charles the Great’s, just as Russian state power rose in response to its Roman-German counterparts. Peter declared Russia an empire in 1721, giving it both a supra-confessional and supranational idea, creating a legal framework, the first step toward freedom of man. Pushkin sang the work of Peter, imbuing the new capital, Petersburg, with a soul. This allowed Georgy Fedotov to call Pushkin a singer of both empire and freedom. The October Revolution of the 1917 and Civil War, that broke out in late 1917, served as the tragic end to the era.
This article attempts to “decipher” Maxim Gorky’s hidden intentions in his novel The Life of Klim Samgin, which he considered his message to future generations. Samgin is a “mannequin,” a parody of a particular kind of Russian intellectual of the early twentieth-century revolutionary era. This social group was characterized by their desire to “transplant” European cultural ideas and values to Russian soil in the shortest possible time frame, particularly the principle of individual freedom and independence Realization of this principle would involve a change of that soil, as well as of al the forms of public consciousness and public institutions.Without these transformations, the “personal principle” degenerated into skeptical individualism and could not serve as the ontological foundation of culture. In addition, “Samginism” represents the inevitable result of destroying two myths: one about the intelligentsia (as the social and cultural leader of the nation) and the other about “the people” (as the bearer of spirituality and moral consciousness).Gorky recognized Samgin as the hero of the era of the individual, an era characterized by disillusionment with universal culturalvalues, viewing them as fictions Gorky’s novel is not a reckoning with the past, but a sad prophecy about the future.
This article analyzes the work of a distinguished Russian philosopher, historian, and political scientist Alexei A. Kara-Murza. Kara-Murza has been developing unique genres of philosophic study, including philosophical travelology and a local study approach that lies at the junction of the philosophical investigation into the history of Russia and historical examination of local places. The method he is advancing could be called an “intellectual topography of Russian history.” This method of philosophical-historical research pioneered by Kara-Murza assumes an inquiry into the genesis of ideas, images, and artistic and historical associations that have been emerging as the cultural spaces of Russia and Europe meet and mingle: the semantic topoi of cultures that encourage thinkers and writers into creative and philosophical reflection.
An original thinker and an outstanding representative of Russian religious philosophy of the first half of the twentieth century, Berdyaev presented the theme of creativity in the form of a modern spiritual manifesto. In his numerous works he outlined the contours of a new spirituality, distinguishing in it metaphysical and sociocultural perspectives.
The thematization of the "I" in the culture of the late Enlightenment and its ideological opponents is a subject unto itself. The "I," as one of the basic intuitions of the early modern period, enters a new culturological context. As a result, conflict arises between the old concept of the substantial "I" and the new concept of the active, empirical individual. The victorious Romantic model radically demonstrates the principle of unity of the "I."
The article analyzes some key motives of both classical German phenomenology (focusing on Edmund Husserl) and contemporary French phenomenology (focusing on Marc Richir). The theme of sense-formation, a recurring thread throughout Husserl's entire body of work, serves as a discussion starting point.
A special emphasis is put on one of Husserl's posthumously published texts from 1933, in which he distinguishes between the open process of sense-formation [Sinnbildung] and the closed sense-structures [Sinngebilde]. The “phenomenon” to which phenomenological philosophy refers here is not a “pre-given thing” yet, but rather the horizon in which its sense is shaped. This fundamental intuition is crucially important for the project of “nonstandard” phenomenology, which Richir is developing in the context of Francophone philosophy. Drawing equally from Maurice Merleau-Ponty’ phenomenology of language, Richir refers to “the sense that creates itself.” In this way, he is continuing to develop one of the key intuitions of phenomenological philosophy, which Husserl establishes by distinguishing between the living process of sense-formation and the “fixed [static]” sense-structures.
Based on this fundamental distinction, phenomenological philosophy is described as one of the tools of modern humanities rather than a highly specialized philosophical doctrine closed into itself. The author demonstrates that the conceptual pair of Sinnbildung/Sinngebilde may be used for analyzing both philosophical works and literary texts.
This article is devoted to Russian religious thinker Semyon L. Frank’s philosophical interpretation of Alexander S. Pushkin’s work. The article identifies the place and significance of the Pushkin theme in Frank’s legacy. The author believes that Pushkin’s creative example was, for Frank, a key moment in the national culture’s self-cognition, defining its spiritual and moral ideal. In Pushkin’s work, Frank sees a synthesis of European rationality and mystical intuition that is characteristic of the Russian spiritual tradition. Frank endows Pushkin’s aesthetics with the features of religious gnosis, finding there an embodiment of his ideal of “living knowledge” or “wise ignorance.” The article expands on the thesis that Frank’s research on Pushkin is an important structural element in the development of his original metaphysical system. In a unique essayistic form, his articles on Pushkin represent an independent, complete version of Frank’s ontological aesthetics and philosophy of culture.
The author examines Herzen's political outlook as reflected in his journal Kolokol and discusses his relationships with other revolutionary and reformist Russian thinkers of his time.
This article presents a systematic reconstruction of the original ethics created by the tradition of Orthodox hesychasm. Analysis reveals that the tradition has developed two very different kinds of ethics. At the formative stage of hesychast practice, an ascetic needs to concentrate entirely on his innermost self—hence “the ethics of the Flight,” of complete severance of ties with the outside world, individualistic ethics that rejects the common norms and principles of social life. At the later stage of mature hesychasm, however, addressing the world in order to offer it spiritual help and instruction becomes an important concern—thus emerges the distinctly altruistic “ethics of the Return.” Its prime example—the ethics of Russian eldership, starchestvo¹1. The ancient monastic tradition of “eldership,” the spiritual guidance of a beginner by an experienced ascetic called the elder (geron, in Greek; starets, in Russian), took in Russia in the nineteenth century a new form, the Russian eldership.View all notes based on the principles of Christ’s overabundant and supra-normative love—is given a detailed description. In the comparative aspect, the work discusses the relationship between hesychast ethics, the ethics of Stoicism, and the ethical theory of Emmanuel Levinas.
This article discusses one of the most significant events in life of Nikolai 5 Karamzin, his so-called European travels of 1789–1790. It argues that the twenty-two-year-old Karamzin did not travel to Europe at his own will and desire. Instead, he was removed from Moscow by his friends in order to avoid a conflict between Nikolai Novikov’s Masonic circle and the authorities, who were preparing an offensive against the 10 Freemasons. This explains the length of Karamzin’s “travels” (fourteen months) and the complete absence of correspondence between him and his relatives and close friends who remained in Moscow. The author believes that Karamzin subsequently developed these fugitive records from his emigrant’s diary into a literary Letters of a Russian Traveler, 15 a “book of letters” whose title is bitterly ironic.